Beyond the Centaur: Imagining the Intelligent Body

Beyond the Centaur: Imagining the Intelligent Body

by Margaret R. Miles

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Overview

Beyond the Centaur questions the accuracy and usefulness of the virtually unquestioned ancient consensus that persons are composed of unequally valued, hierarchically stacked antagonistic components, usually soul or mind and body. Part I explores the gradual historical development of this notion of person. Part II consists of a thought experiment, examining an understanding of persons, not as stacked components, but as intelligent bodies--one entity. It explores how a new understanding of persons can affect in important and fruitful ways how we live: how we move, feel, think, believe, and die.

This book by a brilliant and innovative scholar presents a rich new perspective upon human life, transcending the usual mind/soul--body dualism in favor of the integrated intelligent body. The result is hugely consequential for our individual and social living, and for our dying as well.
--William Rankin, president of Global AIDS Interfaith Alliance (GAIA)

For every reader unable to 'rise above' the pains of age and chronic illness, or feeling oddly enslaved to the bike in spinning class and the imperfect image in the mirror, comes this holistic vision of an embodied self and an intelligent body irreducible into any component parts. Margaret Miles argues persuasively and engagingly that the way we embody life more and more fully has consequences for not only the human community but the planet.
--Jennifer M. Phillips, rector of St. Francis Episcopal Church, New Mexico

Margaret Miles offers a stunning treatment of human experience, coaxing humans to leave dualisms behind and embrace our intelligent bodies. In a foundational text, she draws on the arts, philosophy and theology, and her experience as a hospice volunteer to explore concrete alternatives to privileging the rational mind. Her erudition, wisdom, and graceful writing are compelling proof of the intelligent body.
--Mary E. Hunt, co-director of Women's Alliance for Theology, Ethics and Ritual (WATER), Maryland

Beyond the Centaur is a brilliant, important book on the soul and body, historically and in Christian tradition, that weaves together mature scholarship and personal reflections on experiences of death and loss, love, and life.
--Charles Taliaferro, Chair of Philosophy Department, St. Olaf College, Minnesota


Margaret R. Miles is Emerita Professor of Historical Theology, The Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley. She was formerly Bussy Professor of Theology at The Harvard Divinity School (1978-1996).

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781625644206
Publisher: Wipf & Stock Publishers
Publication date: 07/17/2014
Pages: 140
Product dimensions: 4.90(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.40(d)

About the Author

Margaret R. Miles is Emerita Professor of Historical Theology, The Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley. She was formerly Bussy Professor of Theology at The Harvard Divinity School (1978-1996).

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